Hello everyone, this is a video about European history, and also about one or two tactics that fascists use in order to misrepresent it. Uh, for examples of such misrepresentation, we’ll be looking at a video by Mark Collett, entitled “Writing Europeans Out of Their Own History.” Currently with over 400,000 views. Now unfortunately, I have to make a brief diversion here at the start of the video in order to prove to you that this video was actually made by a fascist. You know, I kinda need you on board with that idea if we’re gonna be talking about fascist tactics, don’t I. So okay, who is Mark Collett? He’s the former leader of the youth division of the far-right BNP, the British National Party. Now, the BNP has roots in far more open and undisguised fascism. But after Nick Griffin became leader of the party in 1999, they began using more moderate and ambiguous language, disguising their real aims and beliefs behind euphemisms. Uh, helpfully for us, Griffin gave a speech to a group called the American Friends of the BNP in the year 2000, alongside former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, by the way, in which he lays out the thinking behind this change in tactics. Let’s have a listen. [GRIFFIN] There’s a difference between selling out your ideas and selling your ideas. And the British National Party isn’t about selling out its ideas, which are your ideas too, but we are determined now to sell them, and that means, basically, to use the saleable words, as I say, freedom, security, identity, democracy. Nobody can criticize them. Nobody can come at you or attack you on those ideas. They are saleable. Perhaps one day, once by being rather more subtle, we got ourselves in a position where we
control the British Broadcasting media, then perhaps one day the British people might change their mind and say “Yes, every last one must go.” Perhaps they will, one day. But if you hold that out as your
sole aim to start with, you’re gonna get absolutely nowhere. So, instead of talking about racial purity, talk about identity. [SHAUN] So, that’s fairly unambiguous there, isn’t it. We want to talk about racial purity, but we know it isn’t a goer, so we talk about identity and freedom and democracy and so on. It’s a fairly common tactic of various far-right groups. Now, 2 years after this speech, Mark Collett was featured in a channel 4 documentary called “Young, Nazi and Proud,” during which he was secretly filmed expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The documentary also includes footage of him being told he was secretly recorded, which is hilarious and I would highly encourage you to give it a watch. Also at one point, Collett claims he isn’t a Nazi because there’s no Nazi symbols around his house, you know, as if it was owning a swastika flag that made one a Nazi instead of sharing political beliefs with the Nazis. Either way, here’s a picture of Mark Collett with his girlfriend, who has a swastika tattooed on her chest. So, then, Mark Collett is a fascist. And… my apologies, I realize it’s rather inelegant of me to just dump all of that on you at the start there. I usually try to be a bit more subtle about it, you know, but I feel it is important that as we go through the arguments in the video, we realize that what we’re seeing is fascism trying to be “saleable,” as Nick Griffin put it. I would still encourage you to watch his video first so you can be sure I’m not misrepresenting his arguments. Although it is fairly quick to summarize, so I will do so here. So, Mark’s argument goes like this: There exists a nefarious plot to write Europeans out of their own history, a nefarious plot that has found itself and acted in the following ways: casting a mixed-race woman to play Joan of Arc at a festival, a BBC cartoon about life in Roman Britain that showed a black Roman soldier, uh, the “Hollow Crown,” a series of TV adaptations of Shakespeare plays, cast a black actor to play Queen Margaret, Dr. Who cast a black actor to portray a Victorian soldier, and elsewhere shows black Victorians on the streets of London, ABC cast a black actor to play Sir Lancelot in their show “Once Upon a Time,” and various other places cast black actors to play things you get the point. Now, Mark compares this to both whitewashing and cultural appropriation. Pointing out the supposed contradiction that some people about white actors taking roles for minority actors but they don’t complain about the reverse. Mark then concludes that all this is a deliberate cultural Marxist plot to undermine Western civilization by eroding our common bonds, histories, homogeneity, and so on. Writing people out of their own history will atomize that people and weaken their in-group preference, so he says. And we need to come together and defend Europe by becoming fascists. Well, he doesn’t actually say that last part, but you know, you may as well. So what do we think about this video? Well, it is riddled with historical inaccuracies for a start. Before we get to the arguments here, I’m gonna have to get my red pen out, do a little correcting. Let’s start with that BBC cartoon showing a black Roman soldier. So this was a video put out on the BBC Teach channel that currently has about 50,000 views, about 6,000 of which appear to have only turned up to give a downvote, though. Uh, so then, black Roman soldiers in Britain — were they a thing? Well, we’ll find out shortly. First of all, as Mark Collett shows this image in his video, he says this sentence: “at every turn, the BBC attempted to shoehorn someone who was not indigenous to the British Isles into the production.” Now, Mark, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but this cartoon was about life after the Roman invasion of Britain. The Romans weren’t indigenous. They invaded, and took it over. You know, you should probably actually watch the cartoons and… Maybe learn something, you know. Uh, why do you think Britain is called Britain, even? That’s just some homework for you there. Anyway, yes, the Roman Empire spanned from the UK to Africa to the Middle East, and it recruited people into the legions from all over the place. And the Romans would use legions from one part of the empire to guard other parts of the empire — it’s a lot easier to say things like “go and put down that rebellion” if you’re not ordering men to go and fight their brothers and fathers and cousins and so on. I’m gonna read a little here from the “Historia Augusta” speaking about the life of Emperor Septimius Severus. And I quote: [READING] Uh, Luguvallum there being the name of a fort along Hadrian’s Wall. So there we go, “Historia Augusta,” black soldier, manning Hadrian’s Wall. Yeah. And, the emperor in that story, Septimius Severus, was himself, from North Africa, born in what is modern-day Libya, his wife was Syrian. And this is a surviving image of the imperial family from the time. The real historical revisionism here is pretending that the Roman empire was exclusively white. And also somehow homogeneous with other apparently exclusively white societies that it was in the process of invading and conquering. I mean, that doesn’t make any sense. So, were there any black Romans? Yes there were. Uh, next up, let’s talk about that Dr. Who episode that showed a black Victorian soldier. Now, it’s quite interesting, this. As we can see from doing a little research about it, uh, Mark Gatiss, one of the writers of Dr. Who, initially protested against the casting. And quoting from the Telegraph here, it was only after he discovered record showing that there was in fact a single black soldier in Victoria’s army that he accepted the decision. Gatiss told how he decided to research the issue and came across the story of Jimmy Durham, a Sudanese boy who was rescued from the River Nile in 1886 and brought up by soldiers of the Durham Light Infantry Regiment. However, whether or not there is actual historical precedent, for portraying a black Victorian soldier isn’t really the most pressing issue here if we’re aiming for historical accuracy. Because the episode of Dr. Who that features the character of the black Victorian soldier has him fighting a war against a race of reptilian men called the “Ice Warriors”… On Mars. [SARCASTICALLY] So much for historical accuracy, eh? We all remember, don’t we, when Queen Victoria sent a detachment of troops. To Mars. To fight the Ice Warriors. What a betrayal of their memory to pretend it wasn’t exclusively white men who lost their lives in the Martian ice men wars. [MOCKINGLY] “Writing Europeans out of their own history.” Honestly… Now a similar point that can be made for that depiction of a black Lancelot in the show “Once Upon a Time,” which appears to be some sort of Shrek-esque, “what if all the fairy tales, but at once” type story. For example, the show also includes Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”, Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”, Cruella de Vil… That’s such a good name. Cruella de Vil… It’s amazing. So this is hardly a historical documentary, is it? You know, and Lancelot wasn’t real. Remember, he’s a fictional character. Regardless, is there precedent for a black Arthurian knight? Uh, yes, as it turns out. Morien is the Moorish son of Sir Aglovale, one of the knights of the Round Table. And the 13th century story he appears in describes him as: “black of face and limb” and also says that “his teeth were white as chalk, otherwise he was altogether black, he bared his head, which was black as pitch. That was the fashion of his land, Moors are black as burnt brands; he was all black, even as I tell ye. His head, his body, and his hands were all black, saving only his teeth.” And so on. So you get it? This guy was black. So it turns out even the Round Table wasn’t exclusively white. And there was also Palamedes, who was a Saracen who converted to Christianity and if we’re talking historical accuracy, there was also the Green Knight whose skin and hair and horse, even, for some reason, was green. And who, by the way, survives having his own head cut off. So… You know. Uh, returning to Dr. Who for a moment, and that scene featuring the black Victorians on the street. So, is this a malicious plot to undermine Western civilization? Or whatever. Well, let me reveal one of my tricks of the trade to you right here. What I do when I want to find out about stuff, for example if there’s any pictures of black Victorians, is head over to Google and type in “black Victorians” and do an image search. And lo and behold, there are. Now, I’m saying Victorians here, but that’s not really accurate to the Dr. Who clip which is set in Regency England. You see, Mark Collett says the Doctor is walking through, quote: “Regency England in Victorian times” which doesn’t really make sense. The episode’s set in 1814, and Victoria wasn’t even born for another 5 years. But, whatever. Minor mistake. The important thing here is the year, 1814. So, then, who are these 3? Well, they are some prominent black abolitionists in England who were active prior to the date that that Dr. Who episode is set. I’ll put some links below in the description so you can have a read about that. I mentioned those black abolitionists here because England participated in — not sure if you’ve ever heard of it — the slave trade. One consequence of which was that many black people were moved around all over the place without a choice. And after the buying and selling of slaves was abolished across the British Empire, those black people didn’t disappear. Anyway, next up, let’s talk about Sophie Okonedo playing Queen Margaret in that television adaptation of Shakespeare. Now, the important point here is that she is not playing Margaret the historical figure. She is playing Margaret, the Shakespeare character. This is a theatrical practice that’s been translated to television along with the rest of the material. Speaking to the Express, director Dominic Cooke said: [READING] Now, something I could point out here is, for instance, Laurence Olivier playing a fellow in blackface. And I could note that I don’t see Mark Collett complaining about that. But that would be rather lazy of me. You see, what I’d be doing there would be making the same point as Mark Collett makes with his whitewashing contradiction, just in the other direction. You see, Mark makes mention of both whitewashing and cultural appropriation debates to highlight how the supposed cultural Marxists always complain when a white person appropriates something or takes an acting role from a minority actor, but they don’t complain about the reverse. Now, what Mark doesn’t mention here is that he also participates in this apparent hypocrisy. Because he is complaining about black actors being cast in things while at the same time, not condemning whitewashing or cultural appropriation, which he should, by all accounts, be equally outraged about, if he were coming at this from a position of neutrality, anyway. But just pointing that out wouldn’t be good enough, I don’t think, for me. That would just be me saying, “Hey Mark, that thing you’re complaining about, well, you do it too.” Nehh. You know, what I really need to do is explain why minority actors being cast in quote, “white roles” isn’t as bad as the reverse. And it’s for a couple of reasons. Uh, the first being a rather simple one. There are typically more roles to go around for white actors. You know, Scarjo playing a Japanese character in a live-action adaptation of a Japanese story is bad partially because there are so few lead roles in Hollywood, for Asian actors. It’s not like there’s equal representation there at all, there. On the other hand, the reverse, an Asian actor being cast in a role you might typically assume would be played by a white actor, that brings us closer to equal representation. So that’s why people, on the left anyway, tend to care more about one instance than the other there. Now, to be fair here, I can see instances where a director would cast someone in a role for a cynical, rather than purely altruistic reason. So why would someone cast a black person, say, as a character who’s more usually portrayed as white? Well, I can see 3 main reasons. The first is a sort of colorblind, “I hired whoever I thought was best for the job” thing, you know, that’s fairly boring. Uh, next up is the socially conscious, altruistic reason. You know, if someone thinks that increased minority representation is a good thing for society, then they cast minority actors in their things, how nice of them. Uh, the third is the cynical, capitalist reason. You know, I- we want to market our film to black people, say, so we cast a famous black person in it to make it easier for us to do that. Or maybe if you’re especially cynical, you could try to use the debate and attention around a controversial casting choice as free marketing. And then cast as to intentionally provoke one. I’m sure there’s a fair amount of that going on behind the scenes in Hollywood. Now we’re getting into the fascist rhetoric section of my video here, but the problem for Mark Collett and other fascists like him, is that they need to elevate everything to the level of a civilization-ending struggle. So much so that they completely missed the simpler and more pedestrian explanations for what they’re seeing. You know, maybe a director hired a Chinese actor to be in a Hollywood movie not because they want to undermine and destroy Western civilization, but because they want to market the movie in China. It’s not as exciting, though, when you put it like that, is it? This escalation rhetoric is a central pillar of fascist argument. Everything is foreshadowing the imminent doom of civilization. So a cartoon for children with a black person in it, well, that’s a sign we’re headed for destruction and death. It’s why you never hear a fascist say oh, well, this is only a minor issue, this. You know. This next point doesn’t matter all that much or whatever, because for them, everything is turned up to 11. At all times. They do this because they’re asking people to accept their extreme worldview and politics, and so they need an extreme threat to justify it and lacking one, they just make one up, out of bits of children’s cartoons and old Dr. Who episodes. And whatever else is lying around. The next trick I want to talk about is rather a big one. It’s the trick of alluding to an apparent, homogeneous, historical, European identity. Let’s look at Mark Collett’s examples of things that he’s complaining about. Joan of Arc was a figure in the Hundred Years War between the English and the French. The BBC cartoons were about the Roman invasion of Britain. He shows the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the start of the Norman conquest of England. He shows a painting of the battle of, uh wherever that was, between the French and the UK and allies. And most confusingly of all, he shows some Vikings from the TV show “Vikings”, I believe, when he’s talking about the lands that our ancestors built. Mark, what are you talking about? European history is a history of conquest, and division, and warfare. When were we ever united or homogeneous or monocultural? I mean, Britain for instance, was invaded by and invaded in turn, everyone, basically. When you say your ancestors, who do you mean, even? Which one of the various groups of people who invaded Britain are you talking about? Of course, the reality here is that when Mark or other fascists like him say “culture” or “identity” or “religion” or “ethnicity” or “nationality” they mean skin color. And it really is that simple. So Britain and France fighting a series of wars over a 100 years that really is monocultural and homogeneous to them, because both territories were primarily white. Which is incredible. White fascists would rather be engaged in a bloody fight to the death against other white people then have to sit next to a black person on the bus. I genuinely believe that to be true. Skin color really is everything here. Take, for instance, this painting. Now, Mark includes this in his video around 12 minutes in as he’s talking about how Europeans had homogeneous communities, common traditions, common bonds, and a shared ancestry. Mark includes this painting in his video because everyone in it is white. Which apparently proves their common bonds, ancestry, traditions, and so on. However, by showing this painting, Mark betrays that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. This painting is “A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881” by William Powell Frith. To briefly quote the artist talking about this painting in 1887, [READING QUOTE] That “apostle of the beautiful” there being Oscar Wilde. So then, this painting, which Mark Collett included to show a supposedly homogeneous culture, is actually showcasing cultural divisions. Viewers at the time would’ve been supposed to laugh at Wilde’s groupies hanging on his every word. They would’ve been supposed to notice the contrast between the more traditional dress of the women in the center of the painting and the aesthetic-inspired dress of the other women. They would’ve noticed the group of men looking disapprovingly at Wilde and so on. And Wilde was of course, Irish. [SARCASTICALLY] And the Irish, as we all know, have always been treated as equals by the English, right? I’d like to see Mark Collett explain to a group of Irish people about how they and the English have always shared a common culture. I’m sure that would go over well. My point here is that this painting, far from portraying a unified culture, actually shows a divided one. Divided in terms of nationality, politics, art, fashion, and so on. And behind the scenes, sexuality. You know, Wilde had sex with men and was imprisoned for it. I’d also like to note that we can see in this painting a portrait of the then recently deceased Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who was Jewish by birth. Given that fact, and that the other most prominent figure here is a flamboyant homosexual immigrant, I wouldn’t have thought Mark Collett would’ve been a fan of this painting, all around. Anyway, to wrap up here, by reducing the various peoples in Europe to nothing but their skin colors, and by coaching their followers to identify with being white and nothing else, Mark Collett and his fascist pals are the ones writing people out of their own histories. The actual historical truth is that yes, what we today call Europe has *always* been comprised of different peoples and ethnicities and cultures. All, by the way, with different ideas of what race is. European history is not white history. Nothing is that clear-cut and simple. And I’ll end with a question to Mark Collett or any of his fans that may be watching. Is Spain European? Do the country of Spain and its inhabitants count as European? And does its history count as European history? To you… I’m asking, obviously, I mean… I know it’s in Europe. I ask because for more than 7 centuries, what we today call Spain was largely an Islamic territory, conquered by the Arabs and Berbers in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the 700s. Now, 7 centuries is a long time. That is centuries of Islamic history taking place in Europe right there! What do you… think about that? Rhetorical question, of course, I already know what they think about that. They think it doesn’t count because they weren’t white. Because when fascists lying about history say Europe, again, what they really mean… … is white people. Thanks a lot for watching, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this video. One thing I could’ve talked about here that I didn’t were the various remains found in Europe of people who were born elsewhere that predate even the Romans, you know. It turns out that basically anywhere that’s traded with anywhere else in history has seen at least some degree of people moving around. But I’ll probably save all that for a different video if I cover it. I’m sure we’ll get around to it eventually. Thanks as always to all my patrons here who enable me to keep making videos like this. Aren’t they all lovely. Look at them there. So thanks for watching and subscribing and all that jazz. I’ve got a Twitter and a CuriousCat linked in the description if you’d like to follow me on Twitter or ask me a question. Okay, thanks folks! See ya next time.